Local Government and Rural Development Minister Desmond McKenzie has put to rest one of the concerns often highlighted by residents of Portmore as it relates to lack of basic infrastructure, and has signalled the Government’s intention to construct the first state-of-the-art market in the municipality.
McKenzie was speaking after a tour of the 12-acre site in Gregory Park, which Mayor of Portmore Leon Thomas revealed is the property of the Portmore Municipality, and which has been made available for the construction of the market.
“Gregory Park has been chosen because the lands are here. So there is no question about finding the location, because we have the location right here in Gregory Park. We will be building a modern market for the people of Portmore,” McKenzie said.
The issue of a market for the municipality, along with other infrastructure, such as a hospital, a courthouse, a cemetery, and a motor vehicle examination depot, among other amenities, has been a sticking point for residents since the Government announced its intention to make Portmore Jamaica’s 15th parish.
THE NEEDED MARKET
“We are not making any promises because Portmore will be the 15th parish. There is a need for the market, there is a need for infrastructural development in Portmore, and the Government is committed to working with the residents to do more,” he disclosed.
McKenzie did not give details of the construction plan, but added that when he makes his contribution to the sectoral debate in Parliament later this month, he will reveal all the details.
A major issue that will confront the municipal council in making the site available for the construction of the market is that of an informal settlement in the space. However, Thomas said the council was committed to relocating the occupants.
Meanwhile, Thomas, in a PowerPoint presentation, unveiled a planned design for the market, one that will have shopping spaces on the upper floor. McKenzie, however, immediately slapped down the idea, stating that the Government is committed to building a market, not a plaza.
He further disclosed plans for a complete beautification of the Gregory Park area, to take place before the Independence celebrations, that will include the building of new stalls for vendors, the painting of sidewalks, and improvements to the Gregory Park Square.